10 Money Lessons From Elderly Americans Who Have Seen It All

Karl Pillemer is a gerontologist and a self-described person who "goes directly to the self-help aisle in the megabookstore." He combined these two passions and interviewed more than 1,000 elderly Americans -- most in their 80s and 90s -- seeking out advice on how to live a good life. He calls them "the experts." His book, 30 Lessons for Living, is wonderful, and I'd recommend it to everyone. 

The experts give advice on everything from raising kids to a proper diet. But I found their advice on money and work the most fascinating, because it goes against so many maxims younger Americans live by. Here are 10 from Karl's book. 

1. Young people obsess about making a lot of money. Older people wonder what they were thinking.

When asked about their prescription for happiness at work, what wasn't mentioned spoke the loudest. And fancy statistics aren't necessary because the results are so clear.

No one -- not a single person out of a thousand -- said that to be happy you should try to work as hard as you can to make money to buy the things you want.

No one -- not a single person -- said it's important to be at least as wealthy as the people around you, and if you have more than they do it's real success.

No one -- not a single person -- said you should choose your work based on your desired future earning power.

2. Money is often at war with time. Balance them appropriately.

The view from the end of the life span is straightforward: time well and enjoyably spent trumps money anytime. They know what it means to make a living, and they are not suggesting that we all become starving artists. But they also know firsthand that most people who decide on a profession because of the material rewards at some point look back and gasp, "What have I done." In their view, we all need a salary to live on. But the experts concur that it's vastly preferable to take home less in your paycheck and enjoy what you are doing rather than live for the weekends and your three weeks (if you get that much) vacation a year. If doing what you love requires living with less, for the experts, that's a no-brainer ...

If you are willing to accept a lower income level, you can gain enormous benefits by choosing part-time work as a lifestyle. Imagine if you suddenly had more leisure than work time. Some experts made this decision: living on much less money, renting rather than owning a house, and forgoing expensive consumer goods to pursue a job and a lifestyle they enjoy.

3. Independence at work is crucial.

When the experts discuss their work lives, two themes go hand in hand: purpose (beyond making a salary) and autonomy. Neither one can be found in every job, every time, but without them work can become a miserable burden...

Career satisfaction is often dependent on how much autonomy you have on the job. Look for the freedom to make decisions and move in directions that interest you, without too much control from the top. 

4. You'll spend 40+ hours a week at work for half a century. Make sure you enjoy it.

[Expert:] "No amount of money is worth more than having a job that you're glad to get up and go to every morning, instead of one you dread ... I have learned many lessons, but there are only a few that in the long run are meaningful and which I have tried to pass on to my children and students. If you can't wake up in the morning and want to go to work, you're in the wrong job ..."

You know those nightmares where you are shouting a warning but no sound comes out? Well, that's the intensity with which the experts wanted to tell young people that spending years in a job you dislike is a recipe for regret and a tragic mistake. There was no issue about which the experts were more adamant and forceful.

5. Jump at new work opportunities.

I've seen people who turned down a promotion for fear it would be too time-consuming or taxing, or who rejected a chance to spend a year or two abroad because they were "not the adventurous type" ... The experts' view? This approach to life is a huge mistake. Their advice is to embrace new challenges at every turn, saying yes as often as possible. The most frequently reported regrets about work in particular involved times when opportunity knocked and they kept the door firmly closed. According to our elders, the greatest reward you can receive in your career is the opportunity to do more.

6. Not traveling enough is a key source of regret

I learned that whether [the experts] had visited dozens of counties or stayed put in one place, the experts had one thing in common: they wished they had traveled more.

I came away from my interviews with the realization of the profound meaning travel has at the end of life. To sum up what I learned in a sentence: when your traveling days are over, you will wish you had taken one more trip. Often, after a long narrative about trips taken, I heard an elder say wistfully, "But I always wish I'd visited ..." 

7. To succeed at work, you need to be more than talented. You need to be nice.

The experts come from hundreds of different occupations and employers. They have observed people who succeed at work and those who crash and burn. It is on such experiences that this lesson is based. Their consensus: no matter how talented you are, no matter how brilliant -- you must have interpersonal skills to succeed. Many young people today are so focused on gaining technical expertise that they lose sight of this key to job success: traits like empathy, consideration, listening skills, and the ability to resolve conflicts are fundamental in the workplace.

8. Be frugal, but live a little.

[Expert:] "Don't worry so much. There is not enough time in our lives to trade off the gold of our existence for the dust of what-ifs or what-if-nots. I had my first job before I was twenty and saved everything I could from my paychecks. I closed my ears to good advice from a dear woman who told me that I should enjoy my days and not become so absorbed with thrift. I did not understand what she said. Although I used money to attend plays and concerts, I did so knowing that each ticket for a performance meant less money in my savings account. As I grew older, people I knew and loved died, and I began to see how very precious each moment of each day is." 

9. Stop worrying about things you can't control.

It seemed reasonable that people who had experienced the Great Depression would want to encourage financial worries ... the reverse is the case, however. The experts see worry as a crippling feature of our daily existence and suggest that we do everything in our power to change it. Most important, they view worrying as a waste of time. They see time as our most precious resource. Worrying about events that may not occur or that are out of our control is viewed by them as an inexcusable waste of our precious and limited lifetime.

10. Long-term thinking is a great way to live as an investor. It's a terrible way to live as a person.

[Expert:} "It seems to take a lifetime to learn how to live in the moment but it shouldn't. I certainly feel that in my own life I have been too future oriented. It's a natural inclination -- of course you think about the future, and I'm not suggesting that that's bad. But boy is there a lot to be gained from just being able to be in the moment and able to appreciate what's going on around you right now, this very second. I've more recently gotten better at this and appreciated it. It brings peace. It helps you find your place. It's calming in a world that is not very peaceful. But I wish I could have learned this in my thirties instead of my sixties -- it would have given me decades more to enjoy life in this world. That would be my lesson for younger people." 

No Pitch


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  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 2:02 PM, allans123 wrote:

    I inadvertently lived by most of these recommendations since graduating college. Now that I'm on the cusp of turning 50 in a few weeks and look back upon the last 25 years or so, the wisdom and advice of this article cannot be understated.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 3:35 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Morgan: Easily the most truthful and USEFUL article you have written to date. Nearing 63, I recognize the value in each of the above and the joy that I learned all of them (way too often the hard, painful way) before I turned 40. I plan on reading the book, the first ever such plan among your recommendations, not because I don't like your suggestions, but because this particular subject is still highly relevant to me. I hope to learn from the experts still, maybe something I've not thought through and so avoid one more "learning the hard way" painful truth. Like everybody else, I have a decreasing amount of time to engage in this kind of inefficient method, but unlike a lot of younger readers, my bucket is diminishing too rapidly.

    If I spot one, I will send it your way as a thanks for putting me onto a book I otherwise would have missed. I am grateful beyond words.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 4:50 PM, tnbob wrote:

    Add to all that about life, work & travel. To plan out where and how to invest your money so that a market fluctuation won't keep you up nights with worry.

  • Report this Comment On January 13, 2014, at 8:39 PM, stockdissector wrote:

    Good article Morgan. These are lessons I recently learned myself. Stress in my previous job wore me thin.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 12:27 PM, astuber9 wrote:

    I will play the devil's advocate. At the risk of being very mean to elderly people, I would argue that this shows that old people are very emotional and forgetful. I think they forget how hard life was and the hard work that was required to pay for their lifestyle. They are kind of talking out of both sides of their mouth when they wish they would not have focused on work so much and they would have travelled more and "live a little" (spending money). That might be possible if the majority of elderly people had a large nest egg they will not use, but we all know that is not the case. I just think it is somewhat hypocritical that the generation that lived through the Depression and focused more on "hard work" than the current working generation regrets it now. The "experts" opinions are certainly interesting and I have been struggling with these issues recently in my 30's. I will be putting the book on my reading list to see what the other 20 lessons are.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 12:43 PM, hbofbyu wrote:

    People in their 80s and 90s? This survey is skewed by survivorship bias!

    Best point: "Money is at war with time". There are scores of people struggling to provide security and a stable home for their family. If the money goes, the wife, the kids are soon to follow. Self actualization isn't first on the list of priorities.

    Time may be money but your money won't buy time.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 2:36 PM, KBecks wrote:

    Good article, Morgan, and I hope you love your job.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 2:38 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ I do!

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 3:31 PM, kyleleeh wrote:

    I have to agree with astuber9. leisure, travel, and "living a little", all cost money. You can't do that if you don't focus on working hard at a job that pays well. these "30 lessons for living" seem to be a little contradictory for people who are not born rich.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 3:34 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    I don't know, you can travel on the cheap. I don't think they're that contradictory -- you certainty don't need to be "born rich" to, say, go camping in the Grand Canyon.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 5:53 PM, xetn wrote:

    Of the 10 listed above, I think number 9 is one of the most important (not worrying about things you have not control over).

    I have witnessed people making themselves sick from worrying about their uncontrollable problems.

    It is a very hard lesson for many to learn.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 6:14 PM, OtterPater wrote:

    Morgan:

    I've never met a person on their deathbed who said "I wish I had worked more or harder." The perspective of the "experts" is telling as to what is really important, as opposed to what our culture says is important. Solomon had it right - we are often more motivated by envy of others than what really is satisfying to ourselves.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 6:49 PM, bernbern0 wrote:

    Thank you Morgan. Another fine addition to your great collection of articles. I'm in my 70's, and I particularly relate to the first four points. I do hope young people out there read this along with your many helpful, sensible articles. Happy New Year!

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 6:56 PM, phoenixseangels wrote:

    aye, yi, yi. if i had it to over again, i would win the lottery and invest half in growth stocks and spend the other half seeing the world and helping the less fortunate. i would be nice to every one and have zero regrets on my death bed.

    as it so happens, i don't spend money on lottery tickets and i spent most of my life working 52 hours a week to support my family.

    camping in the grand canyon? if i lived next to it and could call saturday night to sunday morning a camping trip, count me in.

    we all make choices in our lives, at 55 i'm happy with mine. i enjoy what i do and don't consider it work. maybe i'll change my tune in 30 years and start crying about everything i missed.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 6:59 PM, writerfred wrote:

    Morgan, i will solidly vouch for every one of these 10 points.

    Almost to the letter they verify my experiences, what I've learned and what I've insisted my life should be and has been.

    In my opinion everyone regardless of their present circumstances should seriously consider this a primer for leading their lives.

    I challenge those who disagree or even question the soundness and validity of what's presented here to hit the print key, save and read on their 70th birthday.

    Not incidentally, I will be 82 next month and have a daily existence consisting of a near perfect blend of pleasure and professional pursuits plus highly satisfying memories of what has been a great life -- a life I engineered.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 7:05 PM, TMFBoomer wrote:

    Agree this is one of the most insightful and useful articles that holds relevance for just about anyone. And once again, Morgan, you hit home on the "don't worry about things you can't control" point. So important to understand, yet so difficult to put into practice. I think every other news headline is appealing to my sense of fear and anxiety!

    Also, think it's becoming harder for younger generations to live in (or savor) the moment. It's great we have "the world" in the palm of our hands with smartphones; alas, "the world" can be pretty distracting.

    Keep up the great work. I'll go share this with everyone I know.

    Isaac

    @TMFBoomer

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 7:08 PM, bernbern0 wrote:

    To the person who commented:

    "People in their 80s and 90s? This survey is skewed by survivorship bias!"

    Maybe that's why they are survivors into their 80's and 90's!:)

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 7:29 PM, cmalek wrote:

    @astuber9 & kyleleeh:

    Any idiot can max out his/her credit card and go through Franklins as if they were toilet paper. But will that give them a pleasurable trip? Society/neighbors might say so, but society/neighbors don't pay the bills. The idea is to live BELOW your means.

    Some of the most enjoyable trips my family and I took were on the spur of the moment and on the cheap. You can't see the Northern Lights or a meteor shower from the Ritz Carleton but you can from a campground.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 7:45 PM, cmalek wrote:

    Great article, Morgan. Too bad that the ones that should heed it the most, won't. To them, it's old fogeys being maudlin.

    In regards to #8. My grandparents lived through the deprivation of WW I. My parents lived through German occupation and then Russian "liberation." From my earliest years I was inculcated with "save, save, save, don't waste anything. You never know what the future will bring." Saving and not wasting became so ingrained that it was automatic. The spectre of "a rainy day" was always skulking around, influencing all spending decisions. Only after I retired did I learn to "live a little." Only after I retired did I see how hard I made it on my loved ones by squeezing each nickel until the buffalo screamed or the indian cried.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 8:36 PM, banmate7 wrote:

    Okay, I guess I'll be the contrarian here. I advocate a view of life where disproportionate time must be invested in work & money management versus leisure. This is not mutually exclusive to happiness.

    One can work hard and derive enjoyment through work. But let's be realistic. Just like with marriage, not every moment is a midsummer night's dream. There are routine & mundane tasks in any professions, occasionally protracted in time. There will be stress.

    Maturity is developing the psychology to accept that work & money management are not only necessary to reap happiness, but not always glamorous. Overall, I love my work as a software engineer. I also happen to love saving & investing. But sometimes it sucks, sorry for the language.

    But overall, I can support a dignified life for my family. That's my greatest happiness. I play when I can. But I work harder. And once I again, more of my time is in the latter than the former...which in my view is the equation of life.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2014, at 11:23 PM, ImperiumVita wrote:

    YOLO

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 7:57 AM, KombatKarl wrote:

    I don't think they are contradictory at all. The point is what are you spending your money on. They are saying spend your money on vacations instead of new cars, big houses, and fancy gadgets we don't really need. I also don't see anywhere in there that says don't work hard. Just don't be obsessed with making money. There's a difference. Most importantly, have a job you enjoy going to.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 9:56 AM, investisseuse wrote:

    Let me add one more thing to the list that is implied but not clearly stated. The example comes from my own life. I had children in my late 30's which was not a common choice at the time. I had heard endless times from those who had children young how fast it all went. We at one point sold up and went to Europe for several years with our adolescents. They are in their late 20's now and at this writing we all run a business together. We were not vagabonds but most considered us crazy. We are still a close family and I think that decision to live abroad during their formative years has played a major role in that. So I would add as a more general conclusion-do what your heart tells you is right for your family. It is an unerring compass-not to wealth that can be piled up in a corner-but for treasures that will be remembered for generations.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 3:01 PM, TheRealRacc wrote:

    Morgan, you never cease to amaze your followers. This is excellent. It is the first web article I have printed...in my entire life...and will read again, and again.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 3:03 PM, himarcia wrote:

    Thank you Morgan for a long view of the 45 to 60 years you will be working, and thank you KombatKarl for pointing out that a job you enjoy makes for a life you will enjoy. Not all of my jobs were great, but enough were that I can say I enjoyed working. My husband's job took us to Europe for two years. The thought of that scared me but it turned out to be a great time and I value it, I was widowed 22 years ago and that is when I had to learn about finance and taking care of myself for the rest of my life. I am now retired, able to travel and I definitely know that experiences will trump "stuff" every time.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 6:57 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Morgan & @kyleleeh: I am about half way through the book and am unable to resist commenting about travel. There are a myriad of things one can do in N. America, for a few bucks and some time taken, especially while you are young enough to do them. This may not be so in other locals where mobility or freedom are oppressed.

    I will always be glad I packed up and took those hikes in my 20s and 30s for ten dollars of gas and a few more in food, while I still had the capability to do it. I can no longer run an 8 min mile or walk 20 miles in a day if I had to. Some things just become too risky or impossible. No doubt you can find similar opportunities anywhere you live...well, maybe not in Cleveland (watch the responses from that one!).

    What struck me most however, is one gem that I practice all too randomly, and which did not make Morgan's top ten:

    "Don't go to bed angry" I think at least for myself, it will become something I pay more attention to than the ten above. Now there's a thing to remember, Morgan....

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 7:11 PM, gkirkmf wrote:

    3,4,and 5 are spot on. Especially 3. I had to quit a job I loved once because a new regional manager I had to work for was such an ass. In all my career I never let stress on the job get the upper hand... It is a killer... as for 6, traveling has it's pros and cons... early in my career, Uncle Sam sent me to the far east for 3 years during the US sponsored war with North Vietnam. That was fine, but in my later life, I discovered that the time away from family could never be made up. I regret traveling as much as I did. 7,8, and 9 go with out saying... 10... I am a bit confused by it. Now that I am retired, I do live life for the moment, but I still plan carefully.... Nice article Morgan... when are you going to strike out on your own?

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 7:38 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ When they take me out feet first.

  • Report this Comment On January 15, 2014, at 10:04 PM, bamasaba wrote:

    "we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." -Kurt Vonnegut

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 4:52 AM, kyleleeh wrote:

    @skepikl

    I agree with you and Morgan about travel within North America. Outside of North America it becomes a lot harder unless you can obtain sufficient resources, which is hard to do if you work part time at a job that's fun but doesn't pay much, and care about things like bankruptcy.

    In regards to "Don't go to bed angry" I would change it to "Don't go to bed angry unless you've been drinking, in which case absolutely, stop talking and go to bed."

  • Report this Comment On January 16, 2014, at 3:06 PM, TMFLomax wrote:

    Morgan, this article is tremendous. It's the kind of thing I think about a lot.

    OtterPater, your point is great -- the article reminded me of something I had read several years ago, which was SO true. Few (if any) people on their deathbed look back at their life and say to themselves, "I wish I had worked harder and spent less time with my family/friends/loved ones/doing things that truly made me happy and fulfilled"... etc.

    I think some of you are being a bit harsh about the idea that these are people who never experienced hardship (or simply forgot). I think a lot of people who have different priorities other than sheer financial gain can do many of these things (like Morgan said, travel doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg).

    Honestly, I took a trip to Costa Rica where I encountered some people who had so less than we do, and yet seemed way happier than many of us are in this country. They had family and one farmer was doing something he loved -- he had a beautiful farm and family he was so proud of. And materially, had less than us -- i.e., they did not have electricity or glass in their windows, much less iPads, TVs, Berber carpet, McMansions, etc.

    Maybe I'm off topic, but there is a delicate balance between bettering yourself (awesome), helping your family succeed (also awesome), becoming comfortable and even better, financially independent (completely awesome), while pondering the things in life that truly make one happy and with few regrets as an older person -- and try to do them?

    OK, just had to add some thoughts. Just because again, this is such a great article!

    Alyce

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 5:05 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    As I read my way through the book, I would highly recommend it to you all. I can't say I agree with it entirely, for instance the authors point about deciding where and how you want to age in place by 60 does not fit with my families experience, including my centenarian Grandfather who lived at home alone, till he was 99 and did just fine, loved it in fact.

    But, maybe with 20 years more experience, I might change my mind ;-)

    I suspect that if you read the whole book, Alyce, you just might rethink the idea of it being a delicate balance.

    I suspect, @Kyleleeh that you might consider lack of disposable cash less of an obstacle to travel after reading the book. Not that it isn't difficult, but there are other ways. One of my Cousins, from a family of not much means, with lots of kids to shepard through life, wanted ever so much to go on a mission with his church to Romania - never had been out of the US, but he was enthused, passionate and well, nearly broke. He said yes, committed to the mission (clothes, medical supplies and volunteerism) and then figured out how to raise the funds. Was always glad he did..... Interestingly, while he NEVER would have asked me (yes I contributed) or others for money to travel, he never gave raising money to go on a mission another thought except who to ask...

    I can recommend the book for your reading interest and personal improvement without reservation. At least 2 reminders and 3 new thoughts for me.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 5:28 PM, deadcarp wrote:

    Something’s fishy here mainly with lesson number one and the “Not one of 1,000 people answered” business. If you ask 1,000 people ANY question e.g. “Did Mother Theresa truly act out of the goodness of her heart?” you ain’t gonna bat a thousand. Otherwise the rest seem fine with this elderly guy.

  • Report this Comment On January 17, 2014, at 10:31 PM, RxPro wrote:

    Am I the only one who feels like this list is a few very obvious points?

    for example:

    #1 money isn't the most important thing in life

    #2 time is more important than money

    I mean, right?

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 1:28 AM, Lakeslady6 wrote:

    On their deathbed, people don't value the money. But living a long life in poverty after using up the retirement money isn't a good prospect. I know a very active 90-year old who had to leave her friends to move across the country, so she could live with her daughter's family. Does this suggest that an annuity is better than a stock portfolio?

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 8:50 AM, obiwan48 wrote:

    Yesterday is history.

    Tomorrow is a mystery.

    Today is a gift.

    That is why it is called the Present.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:44 AM, LegacyProject wrote:

    Dear Commenters:

    I'm Karl Pillemer, author of the book "30 Lessons for Living" from which Morgan derived these lessons. Let me say that I found you rcomments to be very interesting and insightful. In the book, I address these issues in more detail, but I'd like to respond a bit here.

    First, it is definitely right that this generation worked hard, and often in terrible jobs just to keep food on the table. Their point is not that they want people to be "starving artists," choosing voluntary poverty. They argue instead that time spent earning more money than it takes to be comfortable is something people regret later in life. And a lot of research bears this out: when you get beyond having your needs comfortably met, having a lot more money doesn't increase your happiness. So they argue, as Morgan puts it, for balance and knowing what is "enough."

    In terms of emphasis on work, there's one thing old people know that younger people don't - how short life is. They do indeed argue that living on less is worth it to do a job you enjoy - because you spend so much time at work, and we have so little time on this planet. And the 90 and 100 year olds were the most likely to want to tell young people that "life is short." One 98-year old told me: "I don't know what happened - the next thing you know, you're 100!"

    Finally, the point about a survivor bias is a good one - it's possible that people who get to 80 or 90 see the world in a more positive way. I will say, however, that the interviewees included a wide range of life experiences, with number of people who did not think their lives had turned out well. So the advice also comes from unhappy people suggesting what not to do with your life.

    Thanks again for these very interesting comments! I'm thinking out the next book, and I am increasingly inclined to focus on the topic of work and money issues.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:02 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    Karl, thanks so much for your comments! And congrats again on a fascinating book.

    -Morgan

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 12:39 PM, cmalek wrote:

    When I was being interviewed for my last job, my prospective boss asked me about my plans for the future. I responded that I couldn't tell past the next couple of years. Before I knew, it was 36 years later and I was retiring because the job had turned into a chore. Time indeed flies, even when you are not having fun.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:41 PM, Kirk2013 wrote:

    I work at a gas Utility in N.H. customer safety is important to me. Some of the infrastructure is 100 years old. Saw one explosion in 1990 and the house that went up was not a customer , they used oil. So some of our hours come with the territory but i still like to joke about worshipping at the alter of prosperity. Its nights weekends and Holidays. I am a man of Faith and know About the idiocy of earthly treasure.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:49 PM, Telsaar wrote:

    For #10, long term thinking is absolutely critical for a well balanced life. I call this "Vision". Living always for the moment, you will never plan that great trip or analyze what your perfect job looks like or think about when your not living up too your best potential. I agree that one should always stop and smell the roses. How do you know when you are spending too much time working? You have to develop a holistic perspective which includes a long term vision.

    What is your goal? Will it make you happy(happier)? Will it improve your world? If yes, plot a path and fulfill that dream!

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2014, at 9:36 AM, 70oldsx wrote:

    Great story and comments. Have thought these things more as time passes. When a loved one dies especially. Getting the book and thanks to you Morgan. Fool on.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2014, at 3:41 PM, MAO wrote:

    Expert:] "No amount of money is worth more than having a job that you're glad to get up and go to every morning, instead of one you dread ... I have learned many lessons, but there are only a few that in the long run are meaningful and which I have tried to pass on to my children and students. If you can't wake up in the morning and want to go to work, you're in the wrong job ..."

    You know those nightmares where you are shouting a warning but no sound comes out? Well, that's the intensity with which the experts wanted to tell young people that spending years in a job you dislike is a recipe for regret and a tragic mistake. There was no issue about which the experts were more adamant and forceful.

    This advice is problematic. We have been shouting this advice from the rooftops for quite a while now, and what we have encouraged is a boat load of young and not-so-young workers who don't look for or turn down work, because it is not their 'dream job'. What we have encouraged is a heck of a lot of 'dreamers'. But, these same people will accept food stamps and welfare and Medicaid and unemployment insurance. How gratifying is that???

    Yes, it is ideal to have that dream job, but we do have to put food on the table and move out of our parent's basement. Yes, sometimes we have to have A job, before we can really know what it is we could work at happily. Sometimes working at a not-so-glamorous job makes us appreciate another job more.

    What might be clearer advice is, learn how to be satisfied within your work borders. Develop work relationships, use humor to buoy yourself and others, take pride in a job well done, change jobs so as to not feel stuck, change jobs if the job makes you sick, and continue to seek jobs that could be more wholly satisfying.

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